Popular Music Lesson


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Hello and welcome back to Hoffman Academy. I'm Alex.
In today's tutorial we're going to learn one of the most popular songs from one of today's most popular music artists:
"Believer" by Imagine Dragons.
For the sheet music, check the link below this video and when you're ready, let's go to the piano and check it out. Okay, as always we're going to look at and discuss a couple things first.
If you're looking at the weird notes in these first few measures, you probably already have a hundred questions,
but we'll get to that in just a second.
The first thing to look at is the time signature, which is 6/8.
6/8 literally means six eighth notes per measure, but what it also means is that you have two strong pulses,
each divided into three notes.
It sounds like
1 2 3 4 5 6, 1 2 3 4 5 6
Or you can think of it as
1-&-a 2-&-a, 1-&-a 2-&-a
Counting to 6 can be helpful early on when you're practicing really slowly and carefully, but as you get better and faster
you might try transitioning to counting just the two larger beats.
If you want more help with 6/8 time, there's a link below to one of our other videos all about these kinds of time signatures.
Moving on, maybe you've already noticed the key signature with all five of its flats.
This is the key signature for B-flat minor.
Five flats is actually one of my favorites because it uses every black key.
Instead of trying to remember which notes are flat, it's easier to remember which two notes are not flat, which are C and F.
But if you just watch my hands and follow me, I think you'll do just fine. Okay now we can talk about these cool looking notes.
In the beginning, we're not going to be playing any keys on the piano.
This is kind of what percussion notation can look like or unpitched notation.
You'll notice that the note heads are little x's instead,
which can be a good way to remind you that it's not a note for the piano but for something else.
For this song the three middle lines of the staff are assigned a different tap or clap.
The G line here is for the left hand to tap on your lap, and I'm just going to tap on the piano so you can see.
The D line is for the right hand to tap on your lap, and the middle line here is for the clap. You see how it has two stems? Stem up for the right hand and stem down for the left hand.
Notice that these spots here where both hands tap, there's also an accent which means we can try to tap a little harder on those.
In the original song they use actual drums which we might not have lying around, so we're going to have to do our best to make up for it.
Let's see how this sounds.
Here are the first eight measures slowly.
Left hand tap, clap, both hands tap,
right, left, right, left,
clap, both, right, left, right, left,
clap, both, right, left, right, left,
clap, both, clap.
And here it is a little faster:
1 2 3, 1 2 3, 1 2 3,
tap, 4 5 6, 1 2 3 4 5 6, 1 2 3 4 5 6
Great, one of the challenges you'll encounter is once you finish that tap and clap section,
you have to jump right into the piano part and find your position right away.
So you might want to just practice finding that position after a clap. Let's find this position right now. It's B-flat with the left hand thumb, and F with the right hand 3rd finger.
But I'm also looking ahead at the next few notes and I see there's an E-flat and a D-flat in the right hand coming up as well.
So I want to get my hand ready for those notes as well, like this:
Now let's try to get here by starting on measure eight, which goes: tap, clap, position.
As I practice that, I'm also going ahead and just play that first note when I get into position like this:
Tap, clap, position.
And at full speed it'll be this fast:
Tap, clap, position.
Okay, moving on. Do you see that word 'detached' above measure nine?
A lot of us are used to playing piano with a nice beautiful legato sound where all the notes are smooth and connected.
Detached is a word we use in music to mean not legato, but maybe not really staccato either. something more in the middle.
In the original song, he doesn't sing: ♫First thing's first♫ with a legato sound,
he says ♫First thing's first♫
So the best way to know how to make it sound just right is to go listen to it again,
and then play it how you hear it.
All right let's play this whole first section. I'm going to play from measure nine all the way to measure thirty-nine,
and then we'll talk about some things when I'm done.
1 2 3 4 5 6, 1 2 3 4 5 6,
1 2 3 4 5 6, 1 2 3 4 5 6,
1 2 3 4 5 6, 1 2 3 4 5 6,
1 2 3 4 5 6, 1 2 3 4 5 6,
1 2 3 4 5 6, 1 2 3 4 5 6,
1 2 3 4 5 6, 1 2 3 4 5 6,
1 2 3 4 5 6, 1 2 3 4 5 6,
1 2 3 4 5 6, 1 2 3 4 5 6,
1 2 3 4 5 6, 1 2 3 4 5 6,
1 2 3 4 5 6, 1 2 3 4 5 6,
1 2 3 4 5 6, 1 2 3 4 5 6,